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Staff Wellness Ideas
Staff can start a daily walking club; they can have one during lunch and one after school to make
sure everyone gets the chance to attend. Staff can bring a change of clothes and either walk
outside around the campus or even through the school halls. Many schools like to start the day
with an “all school” walking club for those who arrive early.
Staff can encourage each other to bring lunch from home at least 3 days of the week. To make
this be an effective promotion, the packed lunches must also be healthy. A way to make
everyone accountable for themselves is to have a show and tell of what everyone has brought
to lunch. This will encourage staff to make healthier decisions.
If the school has already set up the morning exercise program before school starts, all staff,
teachers and students should make an effort to participate in the morning exercises.
Staff Sports Teams
Staff sports teams are a great way to promote physical activity as well as a great team building
strategy. Teams can be organized in various sports such as softball, basketball, volleyball, etc.
The staff teams can compete against school teams, other schools or they can sign up a team at
the local community centers.
Many times, staff make it a habit to eat out for lunch and sometimes there is no other choice.
For that reason, an effort should be made to make the best choice as to what restaurant to
choose and what to order. To help with this choice, staff can have flyers posted in the teachers’
lounge or in a booklet with nutrition information for all the restaurants in the area.
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Teachers can be provided with school water bottles which they can use on a daily basis in the
classroom. This will increase their water consumption instead of choosing unhealthy
alternatives and will also serve as a positive role models for the students.
Ask the district Registered Dietitian to speak at a Faculty Meeting. He/She can help you plan
the meeting to include healthy breakfast and lunch ideas. And the RD can help you plan your
campus wellness plan as well.
Get the School Cafeteria Involved
As part of your district wellness plan ask the Child Nutrition Department to review the snack
policy. Healthy snacks available for both the teachers and students are a great way to role
model healthy choices.
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Healthy Event Ideas
Invite parents to a Health Night where they are taught the goals of the Oliver Kids Team® - to
make healthy choices. It’s the school’s chance to show the work that they are putting into the
program and motivates parents to help continue these goals at home.
Family Night at the Park
Organize a weeknight where students, teachers, and parents spend an hour or two at the park.
All kinds of games can be played such as horseshoe, volleyball, Frisbee, kite-flying. It is just a fun
night to encourage families to get out of their homes and be active. Fruits such as oranges,
apples, and watermelon can be served as snacks, plus water - which the parents can volunteer
Parents and students can be invited to an in-school “healthy” cooking demonstration where
they can learn simple and nutritious ways of cooking. It also gives them a chance to try foods
they have never cooked, which will expand the healthy foods they can choose.
This event can be done on its own or it can be organized as part of another event such as a
PTA/PTO meeting, an Open House, or any other school event such as Math Night, Science
Night or Health Night.
We have included a few recipes to help get this event going. You will need a chef/cook or
parent that can do “healthy” food cooking demonstrations. We recommend a
“sampling/tasting” of the food for the participants, thus you will need extra staff for this food
preparation. Preplanning is essential for success.
- Chef Tim’s Chicken & Pasta Salad
- Zucchini and Squash w/ Diced Red Peppers
- Grilled Chicken Breast w/ pan gravy
- Basic Brown Rice Pilaf
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As a reward or just to have a health day, a Field Day can be organized. It can consist of a series
of fun outdoor competitions, complete with an array of healthy snacks! We have provided a list
of activities to help plan your school’s field day.
During the first five minutes of each day, students can do morning exercises to give them a little
physical activity. Not only is this healthy for their bodies, but it will also wake up their brains
and get them ready to learn!
The school as a whole can do it together outside or via the intercom. If that’s not possible the
teachers can also organize exercise individually in their own classrooms. Check out the Tools
section for songs and exercises that can be used to set up this activity.
After School Walking Club
Why not exercise for 30 minutes after school and invite parents to join in. A walking club for
teachers, students and parents can be organized. It can be an everyday activity or maybe just a
few days out of the week. The walking can take place around the school track, playground, or
basketball courts. It’s a great way to get some exercise and to have a few one-on-one moments
for kids and parents.
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Promotion of the Month
Each month the cafeteria can promote one of the 7 healthy messages or CHOICES.
- To reinforce the benefits of choosing healthy foods (i.e. low fat dairy, water,
fruits/vegetables, healthy snacks), students who choose and consume the chosen health
food (fruit, water, etc.) receive a popsicle stick, which they are to turn into the cafeteria
manager or teacher.
- Each day the sticks are counted and tallied up for each class.
- At the end of the set time frame (2-4 weeks) the class with highest count wins.
- The winning class can choose an activity (dancing, jump rope, basketball, etc.) to do for
the next P.E. class period and can be labeled the “Healthiest Class”.
A picture of a “Balanced Tray” can be displayed in the cafeteria line. Every student that
achieves the “Balanced Tray” can be given an extra incentive such as a sticker or small packet of
Crystal Light for their water.
Breakfast in School
Challenge the kids to eat breakfast at school; it will help them feel energized and ready to start
the day. Promote the healthy choices specifically, like whole grain bread and cereals, fruits, skim
milk, low-fat cottage cheese, low-fat yogurt and low-fat cheese.
Improve Cafeteria Suggestions
Challenge students to come up with suggestions of how to improve the nutritious and healthy
options available in the cafeteria. And ask them to write a letter to the Child Nutrition
Director with their suggestions.
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Just as students should strive for a “Balanced Tray” when in the cafeteria line, they should aim
for a balanced lunch box. Teachers or cafeteria managers can check if students brought a well-
balanced meal from home.
To make it a competition, stickers can be given to students who achieve this and after a certain
amount of time, the one with the most stickers can receive a prize, like a fun new lunch bag!
Encourage students to go out and play once they are done with their lunch. An incentive to get
students active can be to increase the lunch/recess time the students have by 5 or 10 minutes
for every student being active throughout the period.
Have a poster competition for that month’s promotion, the winners’ posters can be posted on
the cafeteria walls and prizes such as water bottles or school gear can be given away.
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Healthy Food Options for School Events
School events and meetings can also be turned into healthy environments. All it takes is some
planning. Unless the events take place during a meal, try to avoid serving food and only have
water and sugar-free beverages available. If snacks are preferred, fruit and vegetable platters are
easy to serve. Another important thing to consider when planning the food for an event is the
portion size. If at all possible, it is best to have pre-portioned foods so that attendees get the
Water- bottled or in a pitcher (Crystal Light packages can be offered with the water)
Milk- Skim or 1%
Creamer- fat-free, 1%
Fruit, fresh or 100% fruit juice
Yogurt- non-fat, fat-free
Mini-bagels with fat-free cream cheese
Mini-Muffins- whole grain
Fresh cut-up fruit- with fat-free yogurt for dipping
Vegetables- raw with fat-free dressing (Try blanching, or cooking in boiling water for 1 minute,
then cooling with ice immediately. It brings out the color and natural sweetness of the
vegetables.) Kids and adults like them this way.
Sandwiches- on whole grain bread, low-fat cheese, no mayo, try mustard
Salads with low fat or fat-free dressing on the side
Snacks – remember the correct portion size
Fruit Whole grain crackers
Vegetables Water or Skim Milk
Pretzels Low-fat yogurt
Popcorn, fat-free or air-popped Low-fat cheese
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Healthy Fundraising Ideas
Students can seek pledges for a variety of things such as:
Bike-a-thon - for every lap the student bikes
Jump Rope-a-thon- for every ten jumps
Walk-a-thon- for every lap walked
Read-a-thon- every 20 pages read
Students can wash cars and ask for donations. A great time to do this could be right after
school when parents are picking up the students. A car washing area can be set-up on one-side
of the parking lot to make it easy.
Community partners can be asked to donate merchandise/gift cards that can be raffled.
Also, to promote healthy eating a subscription to a fruit of the month club can be another raffle
Dances for the older students where tickets must be purchased to attend are a fun and fast way
to fundraise and it promotes physical activity too!
If a recycling program is not already in effect at the school, aluminum cans, paper and plastics
can be recycled. Students can also be asked to bring in their recyclable materials from home,
which would result in much more successful fundraiser. This is also a great activity to continue
throughout the year with relative ease.
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Smencils are scented pencils made out of 100% recycled newspaper. Kids love them and there
are many choices for fundraising, whether you want to sell them individually or in packs.
More information can be found at www.smencils.com.
School Spirit Gear
Selling school spirit great is always a great choice and usually results in very successful
fundraising. The spirit gear can include t-shirts, jackets, sweatshirts, water bottles, pens, pencils,
key chains, etc.
Kid’s Night Out
Parents can organize a Kids’ Night Out once a month. In this event, a few parents volunteer to
supervise the kids for four hours. The cost can be around $20 for the first child, $15 for the
second and $10 for the third or whatever price your school decides. It can include a healthy
snack for the children such as bananas and peanut butter with a glass of skim milk or
sandwiches and fruit. The parents can organize games like Twister, dodge ball or story time for
the younger ones.
This is a great event because:
- All the money goes directly to the school.
- The kids get to hang out with their friends.
- Parents get the night off without having to find a babysitter.
A variety of donated items such as gift cards, healthy cookbooks, and tickets to events, as well
as items made by the students and parents can be auctioned. A small event can be organized at
the school where parents are invited to attend and bid on the items.
Students can make recipe books in class and put them all together to make a large cookbook
they can sell to family and friends. Students can be further involved by decorating it themselves.
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Students can be asked to draw one of the 7 healthy messages and they can be used as the
pictures for each month. Parents will like the personal touch and healthy messages presented in
Carnations for Valentine’s Day
The week of Valentine’s Day, simple valentines with a carnation can be sold, which can be
delivered on Valentine’s Day.
Orange-clove Christmas decoration*
During their art class, students can easily make orange-clove Christmas decorations and they
can be sold to families. They make great Christmas presents because they fill rooms with a
great Christmas aroma.
* Directions on how to make them are in the Art Activities section.
The PTO or parents can provide water bottles to teachers throughout the year to sell to
students. It can be instituted as a fundraiser for PTO and each water bottle can be sold for
$.75 to $1.00.
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Choose 5-A-Day servings of fruits and vegetables!
- Be creative! It’s easy to get the right amount of fruits and vegetables by making small
additions to your everyday meals.
o If you have spaghetti for dinner, add some vegetables to the sauce.
o Add fruits, like berries to your breakfast cereal or oatmeal.
- Keep it interesting! Add hot-sauce, low-fat Ranch, salsa, or peanut butter to vegetables
and low fat flavored yogurt to fruit for a different taste.
Have more water & less sugary beverages!
- Carry a water bottle with you, that way you will always have water readily available.
- Keep cold water in the fridge so it’s ready when you’re thirsty.
- Add a slice of lemon, lime, orange or cucumber to water or even mix in a little bit of
your favorite fruit juice.
- Choose sugar-free beverages and water. Don’t keep sugary beverages around the
house! If they’re not there, you won’t be tempted.
Opt for healthy snacks!
- When shopping for snacks make sure to look at the nutrition label for foods that are
high in calcium and low in fat.
- Prepare healthy snacks in advance. Cut up fruits and vegetables and keep the servings in
air-tight bags in the fridge, ready to grab and go.
- Make sure you pay attention to the serving size and have only one of them.
- Celery and apples with peanut butter are a quick and healthy snack.
- Low fat cottage cheese and peaches are a great snack because you get your needed
protein and calcium from the cheese and all the nutrients of the fruit.
Increase active play & decrease screen time!
- Try not to stay seated for more than 30 minutes at a time.
- Walk or ride your bike to school.
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- When you’re at home, instead of turning on the TV turn on some music and dance!
- Schedule after-dinner family walks three days a week.
- There are lots of activities that you can do at home without going outside.
o Do push-ups, do sit-ups, run up and down the stairs, play video games while
standing up, lift weights (we have included tip cards for ways to stay active while
Choose 3-A-Day servings of low-fat dairy products!
- When having dairy products try to choose those with fat-free or low-fat milk.
- Make oatmeal with low-fat or skim milk instead of water.
- Milk is not the only way to get these servings.
- Low-fat cheeses (there’s a lot to choose from!)
- Low-fat Yogurt
- Low-fat cottage cheese
Enjoy a healthy breakfast!
- Cereal is simple, tasty, and easy. Pick a cereal with whole grains instead of lots of sugar.
- If you don’t have time to sit down to breakfast, here are some tips for breakfast on the
go… cereal bars, granola bars, yogurt smoothies, bagel with cream cheese, and orange
or apple wedges.
- Remember to serve skim or low-fat milk.
Serve a smart portion size!
- Use smaller bowls, plates, and cups.
- Do not go for seconds! But if you have to, choose to eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Make sure you pay attention to the serving size and have only one of them.
- Eat your fruits and vegetables first, that way when you get to the other parts of the meal
that may not be as healthy you will not overeat.
- Eat slowly, it takes 20 minute to feel full.
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“Teaching Moments” Ideas
- By enthusiastically participating in morning exercises with students for the first five
minutes of the day, the students will be motivated to participate and have fun too!
- Tell them that exercise gets their brains going to start the classroom work and learn.
- After the exercise, teachers should let the students know that they have just done
something really healthy for their bodies, emphasizing that it can be fun to be physically
- In the mornings, teachers can talk about the importance of breakfast.
- Ask students to write about what they ate this morning.
- Emphasize, that they should try to have a nutritious breakfast because it is the most
important meal of the day and it fuels the body to start the day.
o It is easy to have something fast like a bowl of whole grain cereal with
strawberries and skim milk.
- The importance of milk can also be addressed.
o Students need 3 cups of low fat (skim or 1%) milk (or other calcium-rich foods)
a day to get the needed amount of calcium.
o Calcium is important because it helps make bones and teeth strong and healthy.
- Praise students who have brought in healthy snacks, while giving healthy alternatives to
- Have the students develop healthy snack ideas. These can be sent home as an “idea” list
for packing healthy snacks for students and parents.
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- Remind students that snacks are just as important as meals, because it keeps them
energized in between meals and helps them eat healthier during the meals as well.
- The teacher can encourage students to bring in water bottles to class or take the
students out for daily water breaks.
o Instead of walking to the nearest water fountain, take the class on a walk to the
farthest water fountain in the building.
- During this time, remind the students that their bodies are made up of mostly water, so
they need to stay well hydrated in order for their bodies to function properly.
- Also, remind the students that drinking sugary beverages will only give them a short
amount of energy and leave them even more tired once the sugar leaves their body.
- Before the students head out to lunch, teachers can remind students to make sure to
eat a well-balanced meal.
o They should include fruits and vegetables, grains, low-fat or skim milk, and a
meat or protein.
- Another important thing to think about when eating healthy is to choose the right
portion size, which means not getting seconds of the unhealthy foods.
Perform this lunch chant with your students before they go to lunch…
Eating a healthy lunch is cool
Because I’ll be the best in school!
Pick fruits and veggies for your lunch,
And then you’ll have great things to munch!
Choosing foods that are nutritious
Make me strong, and they taste delicious!
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- Encourage students to take advantage of their time by being active.
- Recess is a time when they can get their hearts pumping, making them stronger and
keeping them more alert for the rest of the day.
- When transitioning from one lesson to another, have fun before beginning the next
lesson or activity.
o Act like a T.V. personality by saying, “and now a brief message from our
sponsors…” Create a short power point or read a short message on healthy
activities or behaviors.
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Non-food Reward Alternatives
Sitting with Friends
Play Money - earn play money they can turn in for fun prizes
Extra recess time
Bonus points on assignments
Taking care of the class animal for a day
Lunch with the teacher
Treasure Box- students can take a look through and pick an item from the teacher’s
“Treasure Box” which includes small toys, erasers, pens, pencils, etc.
Eating healthy foods in the classroom
Healthy snack-making party
Pedometer Competition with Principal or Teacher
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- Play a quick game of health charades.
- Have a student or a group of students act out a healthy activity and allow the class to
guess the activity.
o Examples; playing sports (choose specifics like baseball, soccer, etc.), drinking
water, gardening, etc.
Healthy 20 Questions
- Play a game of healthy twenty questions. Example: “I am thinking of a healthy snack.”
- Encourage the students to ask helpful questions to try to “solve” the mystery of the
word instead of just guessing.
- If the students struggle, give them clues such as, “my healthy snack is in the milk group.”
- Play a game of hangman using healthy sayings and reminders such as “drink plenty of
water each day,” “eat five servings of fruit and vegetables a day,” or “eat right and
One Minute Exercise Jar
- This is a great activity when you see that your students are starting to lag and are
beginning to get that glazed over look in their eyes.
- Make small slips of paper with 1 minute exercises, place them in a jar.
- When students need an energy boost, ask a student to come up and pull a slip of paper
out of the jar; then do that exercise.
Cafeteria Manager Presentation
- The teacher can connect with the cafeteria manager and have her come into the
classroom to explain the healthy promotion of the month in the cafeteria.
- This will help students understand why they are focusing on that specific food group or
- Teachers should discuss in the classroom, the food being promoted and encourage the
students to try the “promo” food.
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Investigating and Researching New and Exotic Foods
Choose foods students may not be familiar with and assign students to find as much
information about the food as possible. Students can work in groups or individually.
Some of the information they can look for is the origin, history, where and how does it grow,
where it fits into MyPyramid and how it is prepared.
Nutrition Scavenger Hunt
Have students search through nutrition websites for specific information such the definition of
dehydration. It can be turned in for a grade or it can be made into a competition and the
student that turns in the correct answers first wins a small prize. We have provided the
Nutrition Scavenger Hunt along with the list of necessary websites under the Nutrition lessons
During book fairs, books that are related to physical activity and healthy foods can be set in a
separate section that could be decorated in a way that would catch the attention of the